By Guest Blogger Briley Penner with SwimSmart NC

Some of my favorite childhood memories happened around water. One of my favorite memories is the year my dad taught me how to boogie board while we were on vacation. I wasn’t very good, but I always came up laughing when a wave knocked me over and my dad picked me up to help me try again.

Summer is just around the corner and we are all ready to dive into the pool, enjoy time at the beach, and make memories that will last us a lifetime. But in order to make memories, we have to make sure that our families know how to swim smart. Fatal and non-fatal drowning incidents have been on the rise every year since 2017.

To celebrate May being National Water Safety Month and to prepare our community for the coming summer fun, I would like to share a couple of my favorite family water safety tips that will make sure your family has a safe and memorable summer:

1) Never Swim Alone

You should never swim alone, even if you consider yourself a strong swimmer. Emergencies can happen to anyone at any time. Swimming with a friend will make sure you will never be alone in the water if an emergency happens.

2) Designate A Water Watcher

Whether you are at a home pool, a beach, or a lake, you should always have a designated adult whose only job is to watch children in the water. A Water Watcher should not be involved in other activities like reading, scrolling social media, or other potential distractions. This is especially important when supervising young children as accidents can happen in an instant.

3) Make Sure Your Home Pool Has Proper Protection

Hayward Industries CEO Kevin Holleran recently commented that 2021 will be “the year of the pool” as many people in the age of Covid-19 have purchased and built pools in their backyard. While an in-home pool has endless potential for childhood memories and family fun, it is important to make sure your pool is safe and secure. In the state of North Carolina. Approximately 63% of all drowning events occur in home pools. Home pools should have a fence with a self-latching and self-closing gate to prevent unsupervised access by young children. If possible, I would also highly encourage families with home pools to consider investing in a pool safety alarm such as the Safety Turtle Pool Alarm; designed to be a valuable aid in ensuring children are safe around water.

4) Always Swim by a Lifeguard

Water watched by a lifeguard has been checked and verified as safe for swimmers. Lifeguards are the ultimate water watchers as their primary responsibility is to identify and prevent potential emergencies before they happen. They are also trained on how to best react and provide care in the event an emergency occurs.

5) Invest in Family Swim Lessons

The best way for your family to have a safe and enjoyable summer is to make sure the whole family knows how to swim. Studies have shown that children whose parents do not know how to swim will likely never learn how to swim themselves. Alternatively, a child whose parents know how to swim and get in the water with them is highly likely to learn how to swim themselves. If possible, I highly encourage families to learn to swim together. Not only is it a wonderful bonding opportunity, but it also ensures the safety of the whole family!

Follow Swim Smart NC on Facebook and Instagram for the rest of the month as we share more stats and tips as a part of National Water Safety Month to help our community learn how to swim smart for life!

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